I had a very unique, amazing experience happen to me last week. I met a brother that I didn’t know I had, didn’t even know existed. Wild, huh? No, I didn’t meet a biological brother, but a spiritual brother. In fact, by the end of the week, I had met dozens of my brothers. Honestly, I think it was a glimpse of heaven. I spoke at a men’s retreat and had no idea I would encounter so many amazing spiritual siblings that I didn’t even know I had. They just lived in a different state and belonged to a different denomination. In fact, a denomination that I had little to no understanding of, and so, like most of us, had made far too many inaccurate assumptions that we were drastically different. . . . but I was wrong. I am a better Christ-follower and man, because of meeting my new brothers. I have made some life-long friends and connected with some believers that I can now call on, as they will with me.
Over the past several decades, we have figured out so many clever ways to divide ourselves in the church over issues like:
And various other splinters and fragments that come down to petty differences, not passionate doctrine. And notably, also over the past several years, men in the church have been increasingly on the decline. . . . Think maybe there’s a co-relation? I think so. . . . Think maybe we’ve been wrong? Yeah. . . . Maybe the focus has been on the wrong things? . . . Uh huh.
One of my new brothers introduced himself with this statement: “I don’t know what you know or what you think about my denomination, but here, we are Bible-believing, Jesus-loving, Holy Spirit-inspired believers.” I told him that was good enough for me. Then over the next few days, God knit our hearts together—because we focused on Him and the unity He provides. We focused on the fact that we are broken, needy, depraved men in need of a Savior, no one better than the other, and neither had a corner on the market in spiritual matters. I believe that’s still called, as Aretha sang, R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Think about the brotherhood aspect of Christianity for a moment. Think of where we might go if we focused on the majors and let go of the minors. The majors being the foundational points of the inspired Word of God, the saving grace of Christ alone, and the promise of an abundant, obedient life and an eternal home in Heaven.
How many brothers exist in your town, your state, in your world that you don’t know, maybe even refuse to know, because you’ve focused on division when you should be thinking about multiplication? On subtraction, when you should be focused on addition?
There is an amazing family out there that you belong to and they belong to you. You have brothers out there that can love, support, pray, and lift you up. And let us not forget—we all have the same Father anyway.
You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness. —Ephesians 4:3-6 MSG